Frequently Asked Questions About EIS
EIS officers serve CDC and its partners by providing rapid, creative, and effective solutions to public health problems. They are ready to go anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. EIS officers:
- Conduct epidemiologic investigations of infectious disease outbreaks
- Respond to natural disasters or other emerging public health threats
- Conduct surveillance studies
- Design, implement, and evaluate surveillance systems
- Study infectious and chronic diseases, environmental and occupational health threats, injuries, birth defects, and developmental disabilities
What is EIS?
EIS is a highly competitive, 2-year post-graduate fellowship in applied epidemiology. This CDC program, established in 1951, is a unique combination of on-the-job-learning and service. Investigating outbreaks in the field is integral to the EIS experience. As CDC’s disease detectives, EIS officers are among the agency’s first-line rapid responders. EIS officers help public health officials investigate and control infectious disease outbreaks and respond to natural disasters and other threats to the public’s health.
What do EIS officers learn?
EIS officers learn to apply the science of epidemiology to solve public health problems. They learn surveillance methods and advanced epidemiologic techniques. They gain a broad knowledge in biostatistics, public health ethics and law, and other public health topics. They also receive communication and media training, as they frequently represent CDC in media interviews. (See Service and Learning.)
EIS officers attend weekly epidemiology seminars and the annual EIS Conference where they present findings from their investigations and studies. Through these events, they develop their presentation skills. They also meet and learn from fellow officers, CDC epidemiologists, and other leaders in public health and epidemiology.
Who is eligible to apply?
All applicants must meet degree, licensing, and experience requirements. Because of the domestic nature of the program, only a limited number of non-U.S. citizens are selected.
- Physicians with at least one year of clinical training
- Doctoral-level scientists with background in public health or one of its disciplines
- Veterinarians and other healthcare professionals with an MPH or equivalent degree
- Must have coursework in epidemiology or quantitative methods, or relevant public health experience
See Application Information for complete eligibility criteria.
Where do EIS officers work?
EIS officers are assigned to work in:
- CDC headquarters in Atlanta or other locations across the United States
- State, local, or territorial health departments
- Other federal agencies
EIS officers may be sent to another location on a temporary assignment (see Where EIS Officers Work). Although international work may be part of an EIS assignment, no EIS officers are based outside the United States.
How do assignments at partner organizations differ from those at CDC?
Each year, approximately 25% of EIS officers are assigned to state, local, or territorial health departments or other partner organizations or agencies.
Similar to their counterparts assigned to CDC, EIS field assignees participate in and lead epidemiologic investigations, conduct surveillance studies, interact with the public and the media, and produce high-quality scientific presentations and publications.
They are jointly supervised and mentored by experienced epidemiologists — two or more at the partner agency and one at CDC. They have direct access to their CDC supervisor and CDC resources such as epidemiologic, statistical, and laboratory expertise.
Regardless of where they are assigned, all EIS officers participate in competency-based education and experiential on-the-job training.
What are the benefits of being an EIS officer?
During the 2-year fellowship, EIS officers:
- Are employed by CDC or by the U.S. Public Health Service as Commissioned Corps officers
- Receive a salary and benefits
- Are mentored and supervised by experienced, dedicated, and enthusiastic world-class epidemiologists
- Have many opportunities for front-line, hands-on work anywhere in the world
- Have direct impact on domestic and global population health and well-being
What’s after EIS?
EIS provides a pathway for a wide range of careers. Many EIS graduates choose public health careers, at the local, state, or federal level.
EIS alumni who stay in public health ensure that CDC and other agencies have sustainable epidemiologic expertise. Alumni include:
- Acting Surgeons General
- CDC directors
- CDC center, division, and branch leaders
- Public health and medical school faculty and deans
- Foundation and non-governmental organization executives
- State epidemiologists
- Pharmaceutical and insurance industry executives
- Medical epidemiologists
- State health officials
- Health and medical editors, reporters, and writers
- Page last reviewed: March 5, 2015
- Page last updated: March 5, 2015
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